May 29, 2012 in Sports

Whits’ season ends on one-run loss

Pirates’ offense sputters against SUNY-Cortland
Dennis Wilson Special to The Spokesman-Review

APPLETON, Wis. – Experience prevailed over youth as the Whitworth Pirates were eliminated from the NCAA Division III College Baseball World Series by SUNY-Cortland State (N.Y.), 5-4, on Monday.

The Red Dragons (41-8-1), in their 11th appearance in the College World Series, used clutch pitching and timely hitting to stymie the Pirates, in their first D-III series, and bring an end to Whitworth’s 2012 season.

The Pirates (31-16-1) fell behind early as the Red Dragons’ Michael LaTempa stroked a two-RBI single in the first inning.

Whitworth attempted to answer in the second, loading the bases against Red Dragons starter Mike Hughes. The junior right-hander settled down, however, and got out of the inning with no runs scored.

Whitworth did get to Hughes in the third. After Gerhard Muelheims earned a walk, first-team All-American Tyler Pfeffer cracked an RBI double to the warning track in left-center field to drive in Muelheims. Landon Scott walked and was driven in by JR Jarrell.

The Pirates took the lead on a sacrifice bunt by freshman catcher Joshua Davis, whose effort was misplayed by Red Dragons’ first baseman Max Rosing, allowing Scott to score. Hughes coaxed an inning-ending double play out of Whitworth senior Kevin Valerio.

“Mike hung in there after one rough inning where the ball was up a little bit,” said Cortland head coach Joe Brown. “He did a very good job and our bullpen did a nice job after his outing.”

Indeed, between Hughes and relievers Brandon Hourilan and Tom Nagy, the Pirates were able to get only five more base runners the rest of the game.

“Obviously, you would have liked it to last a little longer. But it’s a testament to the guys we have,” said Pirates head coach Dan Ransay. “The seniors have done a lot for this program. They are a special group. They deserve everything they got this year. It’s a tough pill to swallow that we get to go home. That’s not what we had planned.”

The loss overshadowed a great defensive game from Davis. The catcher from southern California gunned down three Red Dragons trying to steal, keeping the Pirates close.

“We had a great recruiting class, and Davis is one of my first recruits outside of the state. He has been great for us all year,” Ramsay said. “He really stepped it up for us. It’s huge. His arm shuts down the running game of teams and gives the pitching staff a little confidence. I am glad to have him around for a few more years. “

For seniors like Jarrell and Scott, the World Series was a chance at redemption, and validation.

“It was fun,” Jarrell said. “I was seeing the ball pretty well, and considering I had a pretty rough regional, it was nice to bounce back and help the team win a game here and keep them in this game today.”

After going 3-5 with two RBIs in the 7-2 victory over Christopher Newport on Sunday, the first baseman went 3-3 with two RBIs.

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